“The woods have eyes and monsters and stories. We are them as much as they are us.” – Megan Miranda, All The Missing Girls
Megan Miranda’s debut adult novel All The Missing Girls is a story that will take charge of your senses and lead you down a rabbit hole of secrets. We’ll follow the story of a young woman and her tumultuous past; from end to beginning.
Nicolette Farrell left her hometown 10 years ago and has begun a new life in Philadelphia – which includes a new fiancé and job, among other things. Just when Nic feels like she is finally letting go of her past and beginning anew, complications back home arise. She is forced to make the trek back to Cooley Ridge, North Carolina to fix up and sell her father’s house as his illness and memory worsens, and with that comes an onslaught of memories she hoped she had forgotten.
10 years ago, Cooley Ridge had been Nic’s beloved home. She and her friends knew every corner, every secret. When her best friend; Corinne Prescott, went missing, everything spiralled downhill. Upon returning home Nic learns that Annaliese Carter, the young girl that never stood out to anyone, went missing under similar circumstances. But Corinne was never found. And Annaliese still has a chance.
This book was, for lack of a better word, shocking. The story is told backwards, starting at Day 15 and ending at Day 1. As the reader, I would uncover a new bit of information with each chapter and have to piece it together myself- which I absolutely loved. However, this is not a book that you can put down for a while and come back to – unless you have a spectacular memory. I found myself going back to refresh my memory on what had already happened. The middle of the book felt like it was slowing down a bit, but once I got near the end, I really couldn’t put it down. I had to finish it in one sitting, because the twists and turns were so surprising. The ending left me satisfied, although I was hoping for one of those “all-is-revealed” chapters like you find at the end of some crime fiction books and films. I was left to figure out some of the connections myself, which did make me feel closer to the story.
There are plenty of tropes in this book; it has the typical small town feel where everybody knows each other inside and out, Corinne Prescott- the original missing girl- is the beloved “manic pixie dream girl”, though she does stray from the norm with her own background of dark secrets. Our protagonist, Nicolette Farrell, LOVES to say the word “damn”! (A lot!) who has trouble leaving her childhood behind, and Annaliese Carter is a sort of “loner-turned-villain” which we learn more about as the story progresses. I found that my opinions of different characters could change from chapter to chapter, especially since it was unfolding backwards. One thing in particular that I enjoyed about the character development was the exploration of depression and mental illness. The characters felt very real and down-to-earth, each with their own inward struggles and problems. I probably would have believed that it was based on a true story, that’s how plausible the situations were to me. The men in the story play a huge role, and Megan Miranda includes very interesting insight on how they differ from their female counterparts.
I picked up All The Missing Girls after reading that it was a perfect summer read, and it really was. Even though I was reading it between busy days, I still found the time to come back to it because it really drew me in and made me think about human nature. If you want a story that will shock and delight you, Megan Miranda’s All The Missing Girls may be the right fit. I could even draw some parallels to other crime fiction novels such as The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith; which also deals with a mysterious situation and a whole host of suspects surrounding it. It challenges the ideas that you already have about human nature and family secrets, and will leave you thinking about how you would have reacted had you been in the same position.
Thank you so much for reading my newest blog post after 10 whole months of silence!! The last year was a very busy one for me, and I was experiencing a lot of new challenges and stress. I’ve finally found my footing again and I’m ready to give this blog a new chance. It was created out of a whirlwind idea, and I was overwhelmed with the positive response I was getting, as well as the support for my friends. I’m ready to put even more effort into it and I will be alternating book reviews and short stories. I want to thank you personally for sticking around.